Tattoo Galleries Biography
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Nick Baxter was born in 1981 in New Haven, Connecticut and remained in the New Haven area until 2008, when he relocated to Austin, Texas. Following a lifelong passion for creative self-expression, as a high school senior he was granted placement in the Visual Arts Department at the Educational Center for the Arts, a magnet school in New Haven CT. He then attended the Paier College of Art in Hamden CT (Dean’s List) where he learned the basics of sharp-focus still life painting in the classical “Trompe L'œil” style. In 2000 Nick began a career in tattooing, while continuing to develop and pursue his interest in other fine art mediums such as painting, mixed media collage, and photography.
Now tattooing over 10 years, Nick has gained international acclaim in the body art community for his thought-provoking, innovative motifs and has become widely recognized by others in the tattoo industry for his combination of fine art and technical tattooing skills. He has been featured in every major tattoo art magazine in the world as well as in other publications and books, and teaches seminars worldwide to other tattooers and aspiring artists about advanced tattooing techniques as well as realistic oil painting. In 2010 Nick wrote and released his first book, “Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil,” through independent publisher Proton Press. This 128-page volume combines instructional oil-painting text with a comprehensive gallery of Nick’s paintings from the past 10 years.
Strengthening the emerging connection between the previously separate tattooing and fine art worlds, in 2005 Nick and several other accomplished artists from the tattoo community painted alongside renowned contemporary artist Alex Grey at his NYC studio COSM, in a multifaceted collaborative performance. This was followed in 2008 with participation in a live painting performance in Philadelphia alongside Alex Grey and wife Allyson Grey, called “Visionary Primitive.”
Nick has shown fine art works in several group exhibitions each year since 2003, selling paintings to many private collectors in the U.S. and abroad. He held his first solo exhibition entitled “Surfacing” in Easthampton, MA in 2007. This body of thematically-unified work featured photography and 10 oil paintings which, when arranged correctly, combined to form one large image. Viewers were invited to piece the symbolism of the works together on their own with the help of a written statement and a drawing reminiscent of a map legend, which were provided at the opening.
Two follow-up exhibitions entitled “Healing” and “Rebuilding”, with themes and subject matter branching off from the “Surfacing” works, were held in August 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona and February 2010 at Last Rites Gallery in New York City. In 2011 Nick expanded upon these overarching themes in another solo show called “Reclaiming” at Nisus Gallery in Portland, Oregon.
A member of the International Guild of Realism since 2011, Nick’s technically demanding painting style dwells somewhere in between traditional sharp-focus still life and modern photorealist styles, while bringing in elements of symbolism and surrealism. His subject matter tends to center around close-ups of skin and visceral, bloody macro-scapes, in exploration of what it means to be human—to have a unique consciousness inhabiting a vessel of flesh and blood. Recently, however, Nick has expanded this exploration by incorporating elements from the natural world and images of outer space, bridging the gap between the personal and the universal, between human life and all life.
These intricately conceptual and meticulously rendered paintings bridge elements of psychology, postmodern thought, anarchist theory, and interpretations of ancient Buddhist teachings with personal symbols to investigate the nature of suffering, hope, and transformation. Inspired by a sincere concern for the human condition and a deep appreciation of the natural world, his aim is to question familiar assumptions and pierce the surface appearances of what we often take for granted; to create a space in which emotional certainties waver and taste loses its bearings, so that deeper truth and spiritual understanding may be uncovered.